A Frustrated Newbie Question
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2019 6:12:42 PM
Shalom, Y’all! Long being a total designer and in NO way a marketer, I wonder if it's feasible or even possible to hire someone extremely familiar with the Zazzle ropes to closely guide me through confusing marketing waters. I've been placing my unique designs on Zazzle for about a year with basically no sales (except for my own orders :^) In the last couple of days I was pointed toward Instagram for the first time by a Zazzle employee; but every marketing step I take feels like slogging through molasses.
Thank you!
~ Karyn Keller

images of product designs
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2019 8:07:51 PM
Instagram is not exactly the ideal place to promote Zazzle products mainly because you can't share live links in your posts.

Have you tried Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter?

At least these social media outlets have share buttons on the Zazzle product pages and in the back end and your referral id is already included and they post a live link to your Zazzle product page.

I promote on Pinterest and Twitter.

some people like Facebook, I don't really...

You can also start a blog site with a free service like word press or blogger and share your products there.

But the good news is that there are some designers who don't promote much at all and still make sales right from the Zazzle marketplace.

Your store niche is very specifically targeted at one audience and that may account for why no sales yet. If you join Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter try to connect with people who are in that target audience that you want to reach. This will help get your stuff in front of the right people who are in the market to buy your type of designs.

Other than that as far as reaching people in the Zazzle marketplace, your titles, descriptions and tags are what matter, so try to get keywords that your audience will be searching for...

I checked a few of your products and your titles etc... are not bad.

That is all I have right now and I hope it helps some...your designs are cute, you just need your audience to see them. don't give up!
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2019 8:17:44 PM
One more thing I forgot to mention is that you can share your products in the show me forum where it is possible that affiliates will promote them for you.

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 6:49:59 AM
Whenever somebody asks why they aren't selling, I look to see how many designs or items they have for sale. You say you've been at it a year, but you only have 196 items in your store, so fewer than that in individual designs. I opened up a new store about 9 months ago and it has almost 800 items, which I consider to be rather pathetic on my part. Affiliates probably won't pick you up until you've got 1000 items, and you've got a niche there, so you're at least a candidate. You need to get crankin'!

Also, add "Jewish" and "religion" in your keywords.

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 7:06:39 AM
The following is from a thread that is one of the pinned threads at the top of this forum. It was written by shopkeepers for newbies. https://forum.zazzle.com/new/top_ten_mistakes_revisited/postmessage?q=1381659

Emerald_Star wrote:
Original 2.0 version The Top Ten Mistakes Zazzlers Make: V 2.0 posted by customizables posted July 12, 2009, much of which is included in and forms the foundation upon which this revised 3.0 version has been built.

Also, credit must go to members of the Zazzle community, all far more experienced than I am, without whose advice and comments I would not have been able to produce this revised 3.0 version.


1.) Too Few Products
With very few exceptions, shops with only a handful of items will make few-if any-sales. If your shop has less than a hundred products in it, then chances are you probably aren’t going to see much business. Many successful Zazzlers strive to maintain at least 1000 to 5000 products in their stores. Don’t let the numbers intimidate you. If you keep plugging away, making a few new products day-by-day, you will reach those numbers sooner than you think. But you need to be willing to put in the time necessary to build up an inventory of quality products.

Take time to build up a shop full of quality designs and you will be rewarded for it, but be careful that you don’t fall victim to the mentality that more products will equal more sales! It won’t matter how many products you have in your store if they are of substandard quality or if your designs don’t fit well on the products they are on.

2.) Designs on too few different product types
Another mistake that lots of Zazzlers make is not putting their designs on as many products as they can. Since Zazzlers don’t have to worry about inventory or space, we have nothing to lose by creating something we don’t think will sell. If you create a design for a t-shirt that also fits on a coffee mug, mousepad, or bumper-sticker, why not put it on these things? Be mindful that you do not put designs on products that don’t suit them--some images just don’t work for bumper-stickers or ties--but don’t think, “Oh, who would ever buy THIS image on an apron?” A lot of my best sellers are designs I almost didn’t post because I didn’t think anyone would want to buy them on those products. Imagine what a loss that would have been! If it fits, post it.

BUT – Beware of product spamming. What is product spamming? It is putting your design on every variety of a product that Zazzle offers. For example, Zazzle has almost 100 varieties of t-shirts in men, women, and children’s styles. Product spamming would be putting your design on all 100 styles of t-shirts. Technically you only need to put your design on one t-shirt and Zazzle will make that design available on all 100 styles. However, if you look at Zazzle Quick Create you will find that Zazzle includes in their templates two or three each of men, women, and children’s styles including both light and dark colors. And since that is the pattern Zazzle has set, that is the pattern I follow, a couple of light color shirts and a dark color if the design works on it for each of men, women and children’s categories. This is true for any product type that comes in a variety of styles, like mugs, hats and totes. Limit yourself on how many times you repeat the same design to avoid flooding your own shop with redundant products and turning customers away.

3.) Low variety
As mentioned above in Mistake #1, it doesn’t matter how many products you have in your store if you lack variety. And it is not just a variety of different products you need, but also a variety of designs on those products. If you have 2,000 products, but you only have a small handful of different designs on those 2000 products, chances are you may not see much business.

Furthermore, if you’re an artist who specializes in a specific subject matter, you may need to branch out a little to bring in customers. Some genres and styles don’t bring in much in the way of customers, even if your work is really good. Styles like abstract or fractal art, for example, are really hard to find via search engines. Even if your designs are wonderful, they may never be seen, simply because people don’t know how to look for them.

Creating a variety of quality products with different subject matter is sort of like weaving a large net to catch customers with. When customers come to your shop to look at your get-well-soon cards or your football key chains, maybe they’ll browse a little more and see your other products as well.

4.) Abuse of Quick Create
Quick Create is a useful tool if used properly. But you need to be aware of what it does and does not do. With Quick Create you can put your designs on multiple products at once with a single click of the mouse. If you are using Zazzle’s own templates a screen will come up showing 100 products with your design on them. But just because your design is on the product does not mean that your work is done. It is only just beginning. Many inexperienced Zazzler’s make the mistake of clicking the [DONE] button at this point and posting their products for sale. The results are products that have ill-fitting designs, white edges and empty spaces – in other words, a lot of really bad looking products.

Yes, Quick Create will put your design on a lot of products quickly but before you click [DONE] and post for sale you will need to click on the Customize link above each product and go in and perhaps resize, reposition or even rotate your design on each product in order to get a proper fit. Moreover, if you want to add additional elements to the design this is the place and time to do so. Be mindful also of designs that hang out of the “safe zone” on products. If text or important design elements extend into the bleed area, they will likely be chopped off when the product is printed.

Also, not every design is going to work on every product no matter how you resize, reposition or rotate it. Cull, adjust, or delete designs that just don’t work on certain products--not every design will fit on a bumper sticker or a mug, and if your shop is full of ill-fitting designs, your customers will leave.

5.) Too few keywords or the WRONG keywords.
Keywords (often referred to as "tags") are probably the most important part of posting a product online. If you don't use the right tags, your product will never even be seen in the first place, because customers who are looking for your product won't be able to find it. Consider your product carefully, and think to yourself "If I was a customer looking for something like this, what would I type in the search engine?"

Keywords can appear in three locations. (1) The Title. (2) The Description, and (3) The tags. Of these three the Title and the Tags can be searched internally by Zazzle. The product description, while not searched by Zazzle can be searched by external search engines such as Google. Let’s consider these one-by-one.

(1) The Title. Think of this as a miniature one-liner description of your design. Design not Product. Zazzle describes the product for you. If someone was to read your title without ever having seen your design, would they have some idea of what the design was?

(2) The Description. Again, you are not describing the product, but the design you are putting on the product. Zazzle describes the product for you. Here you can be a lot more expansive in your description than you were in your title. Include the info from the title and expand on it. Describe your design in some detail, paint a word picture, as if you are trying to describe it to a blind person. While Zazzle does not search the description, external search engines do.

(3) The Tags. You can have up to 10 tags, but only 10, so select them carefully. Zazzle’s internal search does not care what order the tags are in, but it is possible that external search engines do and may give greater weight to the first tags than to the last ones. So just in case put your most important tags first. Try to use all 10 of the tags you are allowed. You can use either single word tags or phrases up to 5 words long. Thus, for example, you can have Dog, Squirrel, Chase, Tree as 4 of your 10 tags or “Dog chasing Squirrel up Tree” as a single tag, leaving you 9 more to work with. Both will work but by using phrases you can squeeze in more key words into your tags. The individual words within a phase are searchable as well as the phrase itself.

Single word [standalone] tags shorter than three characters like "of" or "an" won't show up in search results unless they are used in your title or description or multi-word tag phrases. No more than 5 words are allowed in Quoted tags like "I love Chihuahuas". Furthermore, since Titles and Tags are relevant to external search engines as well as to Zazzle, make sure you use them effectively when describing your product. A strong title, thorough description, and relevant keywords could be the ticket to your product being found. Try to be specific. Try to use words and phrases that customers would be likely to use.

Tag spam is when a shopkeeper chooses to use tags that have little or nothing to do with their actual product, like using the word "unicorn" on a skull or tagging a wedding invitation with "birthday cards". The logic behind this is that if a customer can just SEE the product, they'll like it and want to buy it, but the reality is that this frustrates and annoys customers and makes them less inclined to buy ANYTHING on Zazzle. They also frustrate and annoy potential affiliates who are looking for products to promote. If you annoy your potential customers or affiliates they may respond by ignoring you.

There is a kind of tag spamming that some people may not recognize as such. As one affiliate stated it: “I've noticed a kind of tag grouping some people are doing. Let's say they're doing animal designs, and so they name all the animals they're designing in a string of tags which they then use on all those designs. This leads to a cow showing up with dogs, a dog showing up with cats, llamas showing up with horses, etc. I don't know if the shopkeepers who do this realize just how bad it makes them look, but I'm here to say that, indeed, it makes you look really bad, and I won't promote you.” The solution is simple. Edit your titles, tags, and description to match the actual design you are putting on the product. Do not try to create a one-size-fits-all set of tags for a series of designs you intend to put on a product even if the designs have a common theme, as in this case, “farm animals.” In other words, don’t get lazy.

There is yet another form of tag spamming called "tag stuffing." This is a form of abuse of the use of phrases as tags. It happens when designers simply use a list of words in the place of a grammatical phrase. An example of tag stuffing would look like this: "Chevron Instagram birthday monogram Google". A phrase used as a tag needs to be a proper phrase like "man playing fetch with dog" or "yellow flowers in a garden". https://www.zazzle.com/mk/policy/designer_license_agreement

In the above example of tag-stuffing did you notice the use of the words Instagram and Google as examples, since they are brand names. These are trademarked and should not be used. Using copyrighted phrases such as song lyrics is wrong/illegal, and we also can't use copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property in titles, tags or descriptions.

Tag spam not only hurts the person who does it, it hurts everyone on Zazzle and is against the rules. Make sure you are using tags that are relevant to your products, and focus on attracting customers who are already looking for something like yours.

Also, It is wrong to use Christmas as a tag, or in the title or descriptions unless the design has to do with Christmas. Same goes for using birthday, or mother's day, etc. Every product in the MP is a potential Christmas gift or birthday gift. Tags are only supposed to be relevant to the design. Using Christmas or birthday will bring up faulty search results. Customers searching for Christmas are expecting to find Santa, Jesus, Christmas trees, etc., not other things. This is what the specialized categories are for. If it is a design that has nothing to do with Christmas but would make a great Christmas gift and you want it to be promoted as such stick it in the Holidays>Christmas category when posting and only tag it Christmas if the design is actually Christmassy.

6.) Stolen images
Every now and then someone joins Zazzle who doesn’t understand or appreciate how much work goes into art and photography, or they don't understand that just because something is on the internet, doesn't mean it's free for the taking. These are the people who grab images off of an image search and slap them on products thinking they’ve found an easy way to make lots of money. Not only is this unfair to other Zazzlers, it is often illegal, and it degrades the quality of Zazzle as a whole. There are plenty of high-quality, public domain images out there, so if you feel the desire to create but lack the ability, just make sure you’re using images you have the legal right to!

It's not always obvious what is and is not legal to use. For example, you can use images of politicians, but not celebrities, so while you can make a t-shirt about Obama, you cannot make one about Michael Jackson. Even if you created the artwork completely on your own, if it features the name or likeness of a celebrity, you cannot sell it on merchandise, because the celebrity owns the rights to their own name and image. Imagine how you would feel if someone was making money on a picture of your face, and you hadn't given them permission and weren't receiving any money for it!

You also cannot use any design that is trademarked. While it is true that you can use images in which the copyright has expired (laws vary on how long this takes), you still can't use a vintage image of something like Coca Cola or Pepsi because these products are still actively trademarked. You also cannot use copyrighted characters, like Superman, Betty Boop, or the Bratz dolls, because these character concepts are copyrighted. Even if you create the artwork yourself, the idea still belongs to someone else.

If in doubt, you can go to this link to check for trademarks.
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Copyright infringement is serious business--one instance of willful copyright infringement can cost up to $150,000! That means if you just put one copyrighted design on one t-shirt, you can be sued for $150,000. Really, is it worth the risk? If you have any doubts about whether or not a picture might be ok to use, err on the side of caution and don't use it.

7.) Disorganization during the design process
One error often made is disorganization during the process of putting a design on a product. It is very easy to forget important steps in the design process. Here is where (even for experienced designers) a checklist comes in handy.

• First inspect the images you intend to use to create your design. Are the colors right, is it too dark or too light? Are the images large enough for the product you intend to put them on? If necessary fix the images and re-upload. A quality image goes a long way to creating a quality product.

• Know what the green, blue and red lines on the design screen mean. Are the important elements of the design (including text) inside the green line?

• You may want to add an unobtrusive signature to original artwork. If you decide to do so to make sure it does not detract from the design.

• Lock parts that if moved, will destroy composition or cause problems for the customer.

• Make sure that all elements of the design (images or text) you want the customer to be able to personalize are checked as template items. You may also want to edit the product page label, converting it into a short description or instructions to the customer.

• Make sure all customizable elements (both text and image layers) are in logical order.

• Check spelling. Check spelling again. Check spelling a third time. One thing I do when working with text, whether it is the text going on the product itself or the text in the title, description and tags is to write them first on a word document with spell check, and then copy and paste to the appropriate fields.

• Preview the design. Look carefully at all the preview angles offered. Take special note of the edges of the design.

• Once you are satisfied with the design and click on the DONE button, before you click on the SELL-IT button, click the link below the SELL-IT button that shows the various product sizes and styles the design will be offered on. Take note of any styles that the design will not work on. For example, if you are creating a square throw pillow Zazzle will also offer that design on a rectangular lumbar pillow. Sometimes a design will work on both, sometimes it won’t. If It doesn’t take note of that fact. After you click the SELL-It button you can then go into Options and select the styles you want it on. In the case of the pillows, for example, you can check square pillow only or lumbar pillow only or some other option. Then if you wish you can go in and create a modified version of the design for the option that the original design did not fit.

• At this point, you can still edit the design if necessary. Once you click the SELL-IT button you will no longer be able to edit the design.

• Fill in the Title, Description and Tag info. Refer to the Keyword section – point #5 above.

• When all is done click POST-IT and you are finished. If you discover an error in your design at this point you cannot go in and correct it. You will have to re-create the product and then delete the erroneous one.

• NOTE – if you are creating an ethnic design and putting it on clothing, make sure the model you select matches the ethnicity of the design. If such a model is not available then post for sale without a model.

8.) Products cannot be customized or personalized
One day I was browsing a Zazzle shop and found a few items that I just LOVED, but for whatever reason, the owner of the designs had opted not to allow customers to customize her products. She lost a customer that day, all because I couldn’t personalize the button I liked. Allowing customers to alter your products to their liking opens up a world of potential sales, so unless you’re totally opposed to the idea of anyone altering your designs at all, leave the option open. If you don’t want customers to be able to modify certain elements of the design, lock the design elements when you create the product and leave customization open. I do this on products where I don’t want customers to remove my shop’s web address on mugs or the back of greeting cards. This allows customers to perfect the design to their needs while still keeping my own promotional tool intact.

The exception to this rule would, of course, be any form of fine art prints where customization would detract from the original appearance of the design, but so far as buttons and magnets and key chains are concerned, what do you have to lose by leaving the option open?

Zazzle is all about allowing the customer to customize and/or personalize their products. In Zazzle’s world customization and personalization are not quite the same thing. Personalization is more of a fill-in-the-blanks option. They can change or delete certain texts or images that you have created as either text or image templates, but they do not have access to the full design tools that you used to create the image. On the other hand, when you allow a customer to customize a product you are giving them full access to the same design tools you used to create the design. Thus, they can not only replace images and text, they can also move and resize them, select alternate fonts for text, background colors, etc. In other words, they can totally remake the design to their liking. The only thing they don’t have access to is the SELL-IT button.

Bottom line - Unless you have some compelling reason to do otherwise, everything that can be personalized should be personalize-able. Anything that can be customized should be customize-able. It's what Zazzle was set up for. It's what customers expect.

And this brings us to another point that can trip-up newcomers. Sometimes you will come across a product that looks to be blank except for instruction to [add image here] or [add text here] or some similar wording. This is a product template that has been created either by Zazzle itself or another Zazzler like yourself. Many newcomers can be fooled by this, thinking that it is a create-your-own template in the marketplace when in reality it's actually another designer’s product, part of another Zazzler’s store. If you use this to create your design you will discover when you’re done that there is no [SELL-IT] button. The designer [that’s you] should always and without fail use either the [Create Your Own] dropdown at top left or https://www.zazzle.com/zazzleblanks for designing a product. It's not just newcomers being tripped up by this, but they're certainly the most likely to be fooled by it.

9.) Failure to promote
It doesn’t matter how great your designs are, if nobody sees them then nobody will buy them. You might not think of it as such, but perhaps one of your best promotional tools is the use of strong keywords in your title, description, and tags. (see point #5 above). Beyond that, there are a variety of ways you can promote your products. Social media is a good place to start, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, blogs, etc. Here on the Zazzle forums, there is a forum titled “Affiliating theory, advice and generating traffic” where you can learn about the various methods of promoting products and also learn how others are doing it. In another forum titled “Show Me” you can showcase the products you have created in the hope that an affiliate will pick it up and promote it. Just how you promote your own products only you can decide. There is no one best method. Try out different methods and find out what works for you.

10.) Easily discouraged and Lack of prespective
Zazzle is no get-rich-quick scheme--it’s a serious business that requires hours upon hours of hard work, talent, originality, and determination. It may be months before you see your first sale, even if your products are really great, or you could have a bunch of sales only to suffer a dry spell for weeks at end. Yes, it is nice to get sales, but don’t be discouraged if they don’t come as soon or as frequently as you would wish. Enjoy the process of creating new designs. Keep learning new tips and tricks of the design process. In other words, have fun, enjoy the journey, and eventually, you will be rewarded with sales. Patience and determination is rewarded, so keep Zazzling.

At this very moment, there are BILLIONS of products on Zazzle, and it’s growing every day! If your products aren’t the best they can be, they’re going to be lost in the crowd. Take the time to create quality products that will stand out in the crowd, use strong keywords, and promote outside of Zazzle. Don’t expect people to come rushing to your store just because it’s there--you have to reach out to your customers, first! Take your business seriously, set aside a little time each day to promote or post new products, and remember always that you are up against some pretty stiff competition. You will have to give your very best if you want to succeed! And oh yes, once again, enjoy yourself, have fun. If you don’t enjoy the process, if you are not having fun, chances are you will not succeed.
Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 7:41:39 AM

Llamas - No prob-llama

Llama is such a big thing on the internet. You clearly loose a lot of promising leads by _not_ adding llama to this title:

I highly recommend to go through you stock and ask yourself which major keyphrase is missing in the title and improve your pool of potential customers.

This design is so lovely, it is a pitty you didn't make it more accessible with better key phrasing.

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2019 9:16:20 AM
vivendulies wrote:

Llamas - No prob-llama

Llama is such a big thing on the internet. You clearly loose a lot of promising leads by _not_ adding llama to this title:

I highly recommend to go through you stock and ask yourself which major keyphrase is missing in the title and improve your pool of potential customers.

This design is so lovely, it is a pitty you didn't make it more accessible with better key phrasing.


While I agree it does resemble a llama I think it really is a horse... just judging by the description she gave.

I totally agree about how cute this design is!

Edit to add: The title, description and tags on this one could use some work.

You should describe your design in all three of them. Things like colors, style, patterns, as well as what it actually is...

For an example I am going to pretend this is my design and title it

"Cute Colorful Folk Art Style Toy Horse" and depending on what product type Zazzle adds to it, I might add the words "Baby enclosure" if I have enough characters left. if not I might drop the word "cute" so I can.

next I describe it something like...

This cute design for new parents features a lovely turquoise blue toy horse with a colorful saddle in rainbow colors, a curly mane, purple face with red eyes a yellow tail and pink hooves. It is done in a folk art style on a whimsical black and white background, With the words Oh Baby underneath in a pretty script font.

next I would add 10 tags (the limit)

folk art style,colorful toy horse,black and white stripes,oh baby, new baby announcement, for new parents,cute animals,rainbow colors,red green blue yellow purple,Modern whimsical design,

This is just an example of what I would do if it were mine. I am not saying this is the best way or the right way, but one thing I do know is that getting this many more descriptive keywords into your metadata certainly can't hurt.

hope that helps give you some ideas at least... Smile

Posted: Sunday, July 07, 2019 7:00:43 PM
I personally love Instagram. I have the link in my bio. I have received over 50 orders via IG direct messages.


I love your RIP Memorial pillow for the doxie. Would you be able to do one for my friends pet bird?

Hi. I like the welcome mat design for the teacher. Does that come in a mug or a notebook?

Hello paw_baby. love your stuff. I only have one picture of my furbaby. Can you photoshop me out of it?

Even if it doesn't result in sales it will result in follows or shares. Every set of eyes is an opportunity for another sale. Unfortunately I do not get many views on zazzle alone. Pinterest and IG are my best friends.

Good luck!
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